ASSIST large scale field experiment pollinator transects

This data describes a replicated field scale experiment undertaken on 18 arable farms in S. England as part of the ASSIST (Achieving Sustainable Agricultural Systems) project. The goals of this study were to look at practical approaches to promoting biodiversity and associated ecosystem services including pollination, soil health and natural pest control. Fifteen replicated sites (farms run by a single individual) were established in 2017 (monitored annually in 2018-2021) and a further three sites in 2018 (monitored 2019-2021). On each site three fields were selected, these represent the treatment level replicates. On these fields we established three system level treatments of: 1) control with typical conventional arable agricultural management; 2) Enhancement of biodiversity using targeted wild flower sown field margins and the use of cover crops sown before spring crops to support soil health; 3) Enhancement of biodiversity using targeted wild flower sown field margins, sown in-field strips, the application of organic matter (manure or green composted waste) and the use of cover crops sown before spring crops. All sites were allowed to have their typical rotations and farm management, but these were kept consistent for the three fields within a site. Management was conventional and would involve the use of agro-chemicals. This data set reports transect walks used to assess insect pollinator community abundance and species richness undertaken in the field margins and in-field strips. Sampling was undertaken from 2018-2021. An additional data set also describes the polliantor communities found within oilseed rape crops sampled in 2020 at replicated points along a spatial sampling grid within these crop fields.

NB: This dataset is currently being generated and is expected to become available in Spring 2023.

Data acquisition was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) under research programme NE/N018125/1 ASSIST – Achieving Sustainable Agricultural Systems ASSIST is an initiative jointly supported by NERC and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

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Study area

Correspondence/contact details

UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Maclean Building, Benson Lane, Crowmarsh Gifford
OX10 8BB

Additional metadata

Arable agriculture ASSIST,  Bees,  Biodiversity Ecosystem services Field margins Infield strips Pollination Sustainable and resilient arable farming systems Sustainable intensification WP3
Last updated
28 June 2021 14:57